The largest population of homeless youth are LGBT youth who have either been kicked out of their homes or didn’t feel accepted and felt they had to leave. As a teacher and adviser to LGBT kids and adults for 10 years, and also a friend and ally, I embrace LGBT folks. If your Christian faith is keeping you from opening your heart to these folks, on this page I share why I think you should consider it.

This page has 2 sections:

  1. For those on the fence, I refer you to people who do have the training and credentials to back up support of the LGBT community, in the hopes that it might encourage growth in the Church and understanding in families and society.
  2. Beyond apologetics: this is where LGBT shines for me and this is what has inspired my desire to share my story and to empower others to share, too.

1 – For those on the fence:

Andrew Marin – Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community 

About Andrew Marin: Andrew Marin and his wife live in Boystown, a predominantly GLBT neighborhood in Chicago. His organization, The Marin Foundation, is conducting the largest-ever research study on religion in the gay community.

About the book:

“Andy Marin was caught off-guard when his three best friends came out to him in three consecutive months. Suddenly the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community – people he’d always seen as ‘out there’ both literally and figuratively – were up close and personal. How could he reconcile his friends to his faith? That question has become his life’s work.
“Why are so many people who are gay wary of people who are Christian? Do GLBT people need to change who they are? Do Christians need to change what they believe? Love is an Orientation elevates the conversation from genetics to gospel and builds a bridge between these two communities – a bridge that leads straight to the good news of Jesus Christ.”

William Stacy Johnson – A Time to Embrace: Same-Sex Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics

About William Stacy Johnson: William Stacy Johnson is Arthur M. Adams Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Semianary. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he is also an attorney-at-law and was a member of the PCUSA’s Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity.

About the book:

“In A Time to Embrace William Stacy Johnson brilliantly analyzes the religious, legal, and political debates about gay marriage, civil unions, and committed gay couples. This new edition includes updates that reflect the many changes in laws pertaining to civil unions / same-sex marriage since 2006.”

Matthew Vines – God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships

About Matthew Vines: Matthew Vines is the founder of the Reformation Project, a Bible-based nonprofit organization that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. Matthew took a leave from his studies at Harvard University to research what the Bible says about homosexuality. His teaching on this topic has been featured in media worldwide, including USA Today, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Matthew lives in Wichita, Kansas.

About the book:

“As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to someday share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships.
“Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. With care and precision, Vines asked questions such as: Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not?; How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate? What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships? Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen? What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations?
“Unique in its affirmation of both orthodox faith and sexual diversity, God and the Gay Christian is likely to spark heated debate, sincere soul searching, even widespread cultural change. Not only is it a compelling interpretation of key biblical texts about same-sex relations, it is also the story of a young man navigating relationships with his family, his hometownchurch, and the Christian church at large as he expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.”

Mihee Kim-Kort – Outside the Lines: How Embracing Queerness Will Transform Your Faith

About Mihee Kim-Kort: Mihee Kim-Kort is an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) and lives with her family in Indiana. She is author of Making Paper Cranes, editor of Streams Run Uphill, and coauthor of Yoked. Her writing can be found in the Christian Century, Sojourners, and On Being. She is pursuing a PhD in religious studies at Indiana University (Bloomington).

About the book:

“Mihee Kim-Kort is a wife, a mom, and a Presbyterian minister. And she’s queer. But instead of pushing her away from God, her queerness has brought her closer to Jesus and taught her how to love better. Outside the Lines shows us how God, in Jesus, loves us in a queer and radical way. Whenever we love ourselves and our neighbors with the boundary-breaking love of God, we live out queer spirituality in the world.
“With a captivating mix of personal story and biblical analysis, Outside the Lines shows us how each of our bodies fits into the body of Christ. Outside the lines and without exceptions.”

Mark Achtemeier – The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart

About the Mark Achtemieir: Mark Achtemeier has served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) since 1984 as a pastor, writer and theologian. He taught theology and ethics for fifteen years on the faculty of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

Praise for the book:

Matthew Vines: “In lucid, accessible prose, Mark Achtemeier makes plain what remains obscure for many: God’s purposes for marriage, love, and sexuality according to the Bible. His book helps to clear away many harmful confusions, and it leaves in their place a rigorous sexual ethic that is both faithful to Scripture and inclusive of committed gay couples. It is an excellent introduction for those open to changing their position, and his witness is a worthy model to follow.”

Carol Howard Merrit: “Many people experience a change in thinking when it comes to important matters of faith and life, but very few can articulate their transformation with careful clarity. […] I have such gratitude for Achtemeier’s grace toward those who don’t agree with him. I appreciate how he answers the questions that concern many loving Christians. And I admire him for taking the time to become a helpful guide for the church. Dr. Achtemeier’s journey is not my journey, but […] his perspective, thoughtfulness, and care moved and enlightened me.”

John Shore: “For Christians who fear that embracing a gay-affirming theology means relinquishing biblical authority, Mark Achtemeier’s careful, step-by-step exploration of the issue might prove an invaluable guide and comfort. This is no fiery treatise, no inflammatory polemic. This is a thoughtful, conservative theologian offering to hold the hand of the reader who cares to accompany him on his journey from the Christian he was to the Christian he is today.”

2 – Beyond Apologetics

Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics by Linn Marie Tonstad

Queer Christianities: Lived Religion in Transgressive Forms, eds Kathleen T. Talvacchia, Michael F. Pettinger, and Mark Larrimore

Unnatural: Spiritual Resiliency in Queer Christian Women by Rachel Murr

Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know about Life and Love and How it Can Revitalize Christianity by Rev. Elizabeth M. Edman